i have begun to go to something called traditional teachings most wednesday nights at trent university in peterborough. it is an event where a group gathers to listen to a native elder or leader tell stories, and offer advice on anything from dealing with climate change, to “how to trap a rabbit” to “being a spiritual warrior”. it is simple.
we sit in a circle.
the children of the world i come from are not often exposed to the stories of their elders, and are very far removed from any sort of mentorship that an experienced person of the land could offer them. most children I know don’t grow up running around with older folks trapping rabbits, or learning the names and uses of plants. some, yes, but most, no. to be unaware of the immediate world around oneself is, i think, dangerous. but anyways…
for me, i find it especially moving to listen to stories from people who grew up on the land, people that feel, as i do, a deep connection to the scents, sounds, and sights of the forests, meadows, and waters of our world.
seb usually comes to the teachings as well, but this past wednesday he had some homework to finish up, so i went without him, with my friends carl and genvieve.
going without seb meant that we would each have to walk to the tent alone at the end of the evening. it was the first time we were not returning to the tent together, and it felt strange.
the moon was almost full, but in the forest it was hard to follow the path winding through the trees.
as i neared the field that we cross each day to get to the forest where we live i noticed some tracks that weren’t ours heading in the direction of “our” forest. it was hard not to feel a little afraid, and alone. i forgot my fear quickly though and found relief in singing to the beautiful night.
Before I reached the meadow that leads to our tent the tracks veered off in another direction. more relief.
I reached the tent. I lit candles, as usual, and began to saw some wood.
Before long seb whistled from the meadow and i turned to see him. I was no longer alone.